08 January, 2010

"Allah" controversy : 1Malaysia is a grand illusion !

1Malaysia’s goal is to preserve and enhance [the] unity in diversity which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future.

- 1Malaysia PM

The row over the use of the word Allah has escalated into violence, three Christian churches in have been attacked amid tensions over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims in the country.

Muslim groups held protests after Friday prayers against the court overturning the "Allah" ban, despite a warning from Musa Hassan, the country's police chief, but have received the tacit blessing of the prime minister.

He said people could express their views as long as it was done properly and in accordance with regulations.

Hundreds of Muslims held banners in Friday's protest, some reading 'Do not challenge the Muslims', and chanted slogans for about half an hour before dispersing.

At least two churches have received threats by phone today as Muslims protest against a court ruling allowing Christians to use the word 'Allah', church leaders said.

Anwar Ibrahim, would be justified in asking why his reform rallies so often seem to be an exception to this ruling; the Hindu organisation Hindraf was told that their desire to deliver a petition to the prime minister of the day fell outside of the right to "express views", and suffered tear gas, water cannon and the arrest of many of its leaders when they tried; and yet Muslim rioters were defended by the home minister during the now infamous "cow's head incident" last year, despite dragging a severed cow head, an animal sacred in Hinduism, which they stomped on and spat at under the gaze of the riot police.

The prime minster has denied accusations that the move against the Catholic church was politically motivated, but has yet to offer a plausible explanation as to why his government decided to act on the issue in the first place.

Minister in the prime minister's department, Nazri Aziz, has offered this:

"We have to take into consideration the culture and nature of Malaysia. What is considered normal in the United States and Europe is not necessarily normal here."

Ten police reports were also lodged by the NGOs to express their disappointment over the use of the word in the publication.

In the police report, Dr Ma'amor said the NGOs requested for an investigation into the publisher and that the publication stop using the word.

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